A little back story…
Back during my “ponder and plan” phase, one of the things I was pondering on was a date to make my move to the Western North Carolina (WNC) area. I had made prior arrangements to stay with my friend and her family in Weaverville. Well two things happened within one day of each other that confirmed the move date…August 29th.
First, I was waiting for my yoga class to start and was thinking about contacting a good friend of mine, N, to bring her up to speed on all of my adventures. And as I was thinking about her, she walked right behind my van. I thought it was someone else at first..because I mean, what would be the odds, right? Yeah, I should know better by now… Anyhow, she walked back to her car and I followed her. Tapped on her car window…and thankfully it was my friend, N 🙂 She told me about her upcoming plans and I gave her a quick run down of what I’d been experiencing on my journey. She said that she and her husband, were planning on going up to WNC in a few days and maybe we could meet up there once I had moved and gotten settled. (Later that day, she called and said they were leaving on the 23rd but will be back on the 29th and we could leave together. Her husband would be able to help me take some of my stuff in his van.)
Second, my friend in Weaverville, called that afternoon asking if I’d be interested in farm-sitting for a friend of hers in Madison County while I was here. I said I’d contact him and get the details. I called him the next day and in a nutshell, he said anyone who is a friend of S is a friend of his. We had never met, this was our first conversation and he was trusting me 100% to take care of his home, farm and animals, so he and his family could go on a much needed vacation. He had been hesitant to take his trip, but because our mutual friend spoke highly of me, he was confident I would be the one to take care of everything in his absence. He informed me they were leaving on the 29th and would be back in a week. I told him, I was planning on moving my stuff on that day and if he was okay with me arriving late, we had a deal. Then he tells me about the animals.
A few weeks back, when I came to the realization that the spiritual center would be a place of reconnecting and healing for all forms of life…one of my first thoughts was…Well shoot, I guess I’m going to have to get over my fear of horses. And as the Universe would have it…arrangements were made for me to take care of horses. The animals on the farm comprise of two goofy dogs, Ringo & Franklin; three cuddly cats, Lilly, Henry & Junior; three chickens (whose names were not given to me); and two horses, Buddy & Bailee.
I explained to him about my fear of horses. Which, mind you, is not founded on anything that has occurred in this lifetime. I’ve been trained as a vet tech to work with horses. I have drawn blood, taken x-rays, examined hooves, etc…but always with a very guarded respect for them. I have never been kicked or thrown or bitten by these gentle beasts, but in the back of my mind I would sooner stay away from them and admire them from afar. A bit like my fear of drowning…no rational explanation…I’m not afraid of dying, have participated in swimming competitions…but had this fear of drowning…which I got over one night…but that’s another story.
Anyhow, he explains that I had no reason to worry, that they were very gentle lovable horses that would require very little maintenance. Knowing that I had voiced this specific fear to the Universe a few weeks prior, I was game.
I had not placed any preconceived notions on this farm-sitting stint, as it really didn’t seem to fit into the plan of pursuing a spiritual retreat…other than an opportunity to work on my fear of horses.
That’s the back story. Now the actual trip…
I had made a valiant attempt to leave on August 28. Got to the trailer and couldn’t lift it to the hitch. Also couldn’t get a hold of anyone to help me…so I shrugged it off and resigned to the fact that I was meant to leave on the 29th. My friend and I got it hitched the next morning and I was off.
If you recall, my trip back into the Lowcountry, I felt murky, sluggish, unfocused once I got past Greenville? Well….like a mirror reflection…my journey out of the Lowcountry was a physical representation of those feelings. The trip to Madison County was estimated to take 3 to 4 hours tops. I got as far as the first traffic light on Johns Island (10 minutes after leaving home) and the tarp covered trailer starts blowing. So I purchased another rope and latched it down even more securely…or so I thought. I got on to 17 and the rope snapped (now an additional 20 minutes into my drive)…So I pulled over again and refastened it. Another 15 minutes later, I pull over into Home Depot and got the guys there (Tom and Cowboy) to really secure it for me. They did an admirable job and said that the latchings I had done also seemed perfect and I should be fine all the way up to Asheville. Well…I had to drive 45mph on the Interstate…as anything faster made the tarp blow up and test the strength of the ropes. I have to tell you…driving on the Interstate at the slowest possible speed is quite the experience. I am positive, there were many a driver who used several colorful words and expressions aimed at my direction that day. I pulled over four or five more times before I got to Greenville. At my speed, I was now a good FOUR hours behind my schedule. My last stop, two holes had formed at the top of the tarp. Let’s just say…I have a new found respect for duct tape! This was just outside of Greenville. Once I got past Greenville, it was like a fog had lifted, the seas parted, all possible traffic lights were green to go! I was now doing 60mph, making good time and not a peep from the tarp behind me.
The guy at the storage facility had even contacted me to make sure I was safe and traveling well. He said to take my time, there was no need to rush and I just had to contact him once I got close to the location. So Ace Storage was my first stop. I was immediately put at ease once I met the owner. A funny man with a healthy appetite for beer and good conversation. Turns out he was originally from Puerto Rico and had lived in the States for almost 18 years. He was able to give me information on which banks were small and local; where to get good deals on food items and which breweries to visit to get good beer (despite my “sacrilegious” practice of not consuming beer…he thought it best I should know where they were anyhow). He had spent the day cleaning out my unit and helped me to unhitch the trailer. I unloaded as much as I could that evening before heading to Madison County.
As anyone who has driven through the Blue Ridge can attest…it’s a gorgeous drive with some breath-taking views.
I arrived in Madison County, The Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains, at sunset. Got to the entrance of the farm…and there sitting in the driveway…can you guess? Two rabbits waiting patiently for my arrival. They sat there looking at me with mild curiosity before hopping away into the brush. A smile creeping up on my lips, thanking them for their guidance…with the thought only now dawning on me, that this seemingly innocent “coincidental” farm-sitting stint, had a part to play in this journey. Maybe it is as simple as getting over my fear of horses…maybe it’s something more. Only time will tell.
I didn’t get to meet Buddy & Bailee that night, as they were up the hill grazing and flat out ignored me. Of which I was only too grateful to let them be and not wanting to face my fears in the dark. So I introduced myself to the rest of the farm clan, fed them and called it a night.
The next morning, armed with two large carrots..I went to bribe my way towards introducing myself to Buddy & Bailee. I got up to the fence and broke down laughing. There in the stalls in front of me, were Buddy & Bailee…peeking out of their stalls hesitantly. They were just as wary of me as I was of them. So I had a good laugh and offered my bribe. Buddy came first (he’s a sucker for carrots), Bailee took her cue from him and followed suit. If there was ever a way to ease someone out of their fears and concerns about horses…Buddy & Bailee would be the two horses to do it.
Stay tuned, as there’s more to come in the week to follow.
While I simply adore horses, I have a fear of them as well, (they’re HUGE beasts!) but I know that the majority of my fear stems from being unfamiliar with their mannerisms and body language. 🙂